Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor
finally filed her July 1 to Dec. 31, 2009 campaign disclosure statement on March 17, 2010 — more than six weeks late. Her council re-election contributors included a number of developers, attorneys, architects, tourism industry donors and real estate interests. She hauled in $6,675 for the period.
Four family members/associates of Alexander Gorby, principal of Maxser, Inc., were the largest contributing block at $250 each for a total of $1,000. Maxser’s mixed-use hotel project at 710 Wilshire Blvd. will be before City Council in the coming months for approval of a development agreement.
Barbara Flamming and Wade Killefer of Killefer-Flamming Architects each contributed $250. Kenneth Kutcher and Kevin Kozall, attorneys with Harding, Larmore, Mullen, Jakle, Kutcher, & Kozall, LLP — a Santa Monica law firm specializing in land use issues and property law with developer clients like Texas mega-developer Hines — each contributed $250.
Colin Shepherd, vice president of Hines, opened his wallet and rustled up $250. Hines is behind the massive Bergamot Transit Village Center, a nearly 1-million-square-foot project proposed for the former Paper Mate site at 26th Street and Olympic Boulevard. This project is currently in review pending City Council approval for a development agreement.
Other contributors with pending projects and waiting for development agreements include James Anderson, chief operating officer for NMS Properties, who kicked in $250. NMS is behind Paseo Nebraska, a large and controversial mixed-use project planned for 3025 Olympic Blvd. NMS is also seeking a development agreement with City Hall for a 545-multi-family residential complex with 80,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The 357,000-square-foot project was designed by Killefer-Flamming.
Colorado Creative Studios, LLC donated $250. They are asking for a development agreement to build a 151,600 square-foot, five-floor “creative arts/studio/production” office building with underground parking for 584 vehicles at 1834 Colorado Ave. (and Stewart Street).
Bradley Cox, managing director of Trammel Crow, donated $250. Crow has plans to redevelop residential property at 301 Ocean Ave. — a 1950s apartment complex owned by former Santa Monica’s first female mayor, the late Clo Hoover. It was the subject of a bitter landmark battle in September 2009. O’Connor voted to uphold Trammel Crow’s appeal of the structure’s landmark status, thus clearing the way for Crow’s condo project.
Gail Goldstein of Equity Partners, a real estate/management firm, contributed $250. According to Internet search sites, Goldstein is the leasing contact for a number of EP properties in Santa Monica including the Arboretum Apartments, Santa Monica Business Park and Yahoo Center, to name a few.
Bruce Ramer and Ann Ramer each contributed $250. He’s an entertainment lawyer for Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown, Inc., in Beverly Hills. Additional $250 (maximum individual contribution allowed by election law) contributors include the Best Western Gateway Hotel, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Santa Monica Amusements, LLC (Pacific Park) and the Santa Monica Firefighters union.
Accepting donations from entities that stand to profit handsomely by doing business with City Hall isn’t illegal. But you can bet the family Prius that many of these contributors are stuffing O’Connor’s campaign chest because they expect something from her in return. The big question is what. And, how will it affect the rest of us?
Some, if not all, of O’Connor’s money was raised at a “business-friendly” breakfast at Casa Del Mar last Sept. 22, hosted by Cheryl Richardson and Kim Karie of the real estate government relations consulting firm The Karie Group.
Lobbyist Karie also politicked hard behind the scenes to help secure Terry O’Day’s appointment to City Council. She’s currently recruiting attendees and donors for a Ballona Watershed fundraiser honoring O’Day on April 29 at the tony California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are $500 each. This could be worth 10 grand. Sponsorships? Where do I sign up?
Development crack-down is coming
I had a brief chat last Monday with our new city manager, Rod Gould, about City Hall’s lack of enforcement of development agreements. In my column two weeks ago I wrote that 14 out of 15 deed-restricted condominiums in the Dorchester at 1040 Fourth St. were occupied by owners instead of being leased out to low- and moderate-income tenants. A 15th unit was being leased at market rate rents — both conditions violate a nearly three-decades-old development agreement between the Dorchester and City Hall.
Gould told me that city staff was reviewing 11 development agreements and if out of compliance, staff will go to City Council for guidance on how to obtain compliance on a case-by-case basis. The Dorchester is just one of the agreements under review.
Gould said that he favored “habitual” review and enforcement.
“We will do it every year,” Gould said.
I suggested City Hall’s reviews also include smaller condo and mixed-use developments. I opined, “You could find dozens if not hundreds of deed restricted units where agreements to provide low- and moderate-incoming housing have been ignored.”
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org